Sweet Potato Pureé with Roasted Garlic
Late winter leading into early spring is a tough time. It can be chilly and drizzly one day, and hot the next. Mother Nature just can’t make up her mind. And in the markets, the mix of produce reflects the season’s volatility. There’s an array of the last of the dark leafy greens, juxtaposed against the first baby artichokes, early asparagus and sweet young peas with their tendrils, offering interesting, and sometimes challenging choices for menu planning.
A couple of years back, I catered two parties in the last week of March – and yes, the menus reflected that mix of produce in the side dishes. There was a favorite springtime salad of tender butter lettuce, with delicate pea tendrils and a healthy handful of fresh herbs tossed with a creamy lemon dressing, both Roasted Asparagus and Roasted Cauliflower, Braised Baby Bok Choy with Ginger. But the wintry stand out side dish tying the others together was this Sweet Potato Puree with Roasted Garlic.
Adding roasted garlic to mashed potatoes has become standard, but I have to admit I was a little taken aback at the first suggestion of adding garlic to sweet potatoes. Just a bit of it, though, adds a warmth and depth to sweet potatoes.
So last week, when it was drizzly much of the week, I roasted and pureed some sweet potatoes – a natural choice here in Louisiana where this nutritious tuber is the state vegetable, and so many wonderful varieties have been developed. I happened to have a bit of leftover roasted garlic, so in it went. I served them with Wine Braised Short Ribs and Sautéed Mixed Greens.
The slight bitterness of the greens, the sweet potatoes with that hint of garlicky depth, the deep umami savoriness of the braised beef, the contrasting interplay of the vibrant colors – the combination is full of sensory twists and turns – just like the season’s weather.
Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Puree adapted from The Food of Campanile: Recipes from the Famed Los Angeles Restaurant
I’ve cut the amount of cream and butter from the original recipe, because I love the taste of the potatoes and want them to shine through. I also added a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, just because it belongs in sweet potatoes, IMHO.
- 4 large yams, about 2 pounds
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 1- 2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Puree
- A healthy grating of fresh nutmeg
- Sea or Kosher salt, to taste
- Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork in several spots. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet (this helps tremendously with the clean up), and bake the un til they are soft, about 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and allow them to cool slightly.
- While the potatoes are cooling, bring the cream to a gentle boil.
- Peel the skins off the potatoes. Place the potato pulp in a food processor, along with the butter and roasted garlic, grate the nutmeg over them, then pureé. This will probably have to be done in a couple of batches. Remove to a bowl, then fold in the warm cream. Add the salt to taste.
Yield: 4 – 6 servings